Once upon a time, it used to be fairly easy to rank high on the Google search results page. Yes, Google had its secret search algorithms, but at the end of the day, one was contending with software that was programmed to identify certain traits in the webpage/content to accord rankings to it. And the most significant of these traits (also called search algorithms) included keyword optimized content and in bound links.
…And Things Changed
As the influence of the internet increased, Google also started paying more attention to the relevance of the search results it was displaying. As all good businesses, Google wants to add maximum value to its customers – the searchers.
This coupled with the rise of social media platforms has brought to the fore a unique concept in search engine optimization, which I like to call the ‘humanization of Google’.
Humanization of Google
The term refers to the fact that Google bots now think like real people while according search rankings to websites. Yes they are still software, but the software is now programmed to consider ‘human’ factors to display the most relevant search results.
And this has increased the significance of social media in search rankings. Want to know how? Read on.
3 Google ‘Humanization’ Factors that Make Social Media Important for SEO
1. Google Looks at Social Recommendations of Content
While indexing content, earlier, presence of ‘relevant’ keywords was enough. But now, Google is additionally looking at how many people have shared that content, social recommendation, shares by influencers etc, before assigning search rankings. Because Google knows that people only share content that adds value. No one will share low quality content and ‘let down’ their social acquaintances.
The take home is that the more Facebook likes, shares, tweets, +1s your content receives, greater the chances of being ranked higher.
2. Google Knows People Trust Recommendations from Friends
This is in fact the idea behind the launch of Google Search Plus your World, where Google pulls out data from the searcher’s Google+ (Google’s social media platform) circles in response to a search query. So if your content has been +1d by someone in the searcher’s circle, you will figure higher in the searcher’s SERP. This article explores the impact of the +1 button on search results.
The take home is that you should aim for maximum +1s for your content so that you enjoy higher rankings in maximum personalized SERPs.
3. Google Wants to Identify People Behind the Content
Google will soon implement the Author Rank algorithm that not only looks at content, but also gives some value to the author while ranking the content. Google knows that some people are experts in a niche and searchers would prefer content written by them over other content.
To build your author authority with Google, first claim your authorship via your Google+ profile.
The take home here is to deliver consistent high quality content, promote it via social media and increase your social fans and followers and thus build authority and credibility as an author.
Is Google human in more ways?